U.S. Bancorp Mortgage Company v. Bonner Mall Partnership

PETITIONER: U.S. Bancorp Mortgage Company
RESPONDENT: Bonner Mall Partnership
LOCATION: Schwegmann’s Grocery Store

DOCKET NO.: 93-714
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 513 US 18 (1994)
ARGUED: Oct 04, 1994
DECIDED: Nov 08, 1994

ADVOCATES:
Bradford Anderson - on behalf of the Petitioner
Edwin S. Kneedler - on behalf of the U.S., as amicus curiae, supporting Petitioner
John Ford Elsaesser, Jr. - on behalf of the Respondent

Facts of the case

Question

Media for U.S. Bancorp Mortgage Company v. Bonner Mall Partnership

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 04, 1994 in U.S. Bancorp Mortgage Company v. Bonner Mall Partnership

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - November 08, 1994 in U.S. Bancorp Mortgage Company v. Bonner Mall Partnership

William H. Rehnquist:

The Opinion of the Court in number 93-714 U.S. Bancorp Mortgage Company v. Bonner Mall will be announced by Justice Scalia.

Antonin Scalia:

This case is here on Certiorari from the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Originally, petitioner sought review of the Ninth Circuit’s decision on a question of Bankruptcy Law but after we agreed to hear the case the parties reached a settlement that rendered the controversy moot and of course terminated our jurisdiction to decide it.

Petitioner requested that in light of that mootness, we not leave the judgment of the Court of Appeals standing but that we exercise our statutory power under 28 U. S. C. Section 2106 to vacate it, that is to give the power it's a Anglo-Latin name that if we exercise our power of vacatur.

Respondent opposed the motion and we held the case over from last term to consider whether appellate courts and the federal system should vacate civil judgment of inferior courts in cases that are settled after appeal is filed or certiorari is sought.

In a unanimous decision we hold that mootness by reason from settlement does not justify vacatur of a judgment on the review, vacatur is an equitable remedy traditionally granted to parties whose efforts to obtain the view have been forted by happenstance or by the unilateral of the party who prevailed in the lower court.

When mootness results from settlement, however the party seeking relief from the judgment has voluntarily forfeited his legal remedy by the ordinary process of appealer certiorari, thereby surrendering his claim to the equitable remedy of vacatur, there is a public interest concern as well, congress has prescribed a primary route by appeal as of right and certiorari, through which parties may seek relief from the legal consequences of judicial judgments to allow parties to employ vacatur as an indirect attack on the judgment disturbs the orderly operation of the federal judicial system accordingly.

We deny petitioner’s motions of vacate the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and we dismiss the case as moot.

The decision is unanimous.